i live a very secure life. i have my moments of personal insecurity–as many as most, a few less than some, a few more than others. i’ve experienced enough cognitive dissonance to spin me into depression that has kept me from fully functioning. but i live a very secure life. i know there are evil people in my world–not the world, my world. i’m sure there are people in my community who have committed unspeakable acts. i may have even encountered them. but i do not fear that evil. that’s not to say that i don’t take reasonable precautions or that i live in a self-generated bubble in which i think i could never be the victim of an unspeakable act. it’s simply to say that such unspeakable acts are not a daily reality i must confront.
on tuesday, as i listened to my usual dose of NPR while getting ready for the day, i heard a story about healing women and children who have been raped as an act of war, followed by a story about an american doctor affiliated with harvard who has tried to help her congolese colleagues. when the story started, my tendency to socially conscious outrage was immediately piqued. as was my academic interest in feminism and women’s issues. but i couldn’t maintain the distance necessary to have those reactions. these stories recounted such unadulterated evil that there was no way i could simply listen in outrage and interest. instead i stopped what i was doing, sat down and cried as i listened to stories about women and girls–little girls of 10 or 11–who had been brutally violated as an act of war. and about people who give everything to help them.
those 15 minutes of radio time forced me to realize how very secure my life is. and how very helpless i feel about making any difference. i don’t know yet what i can do–which organizations i can support, what work i could do remotely, how i can speak up about the cause to my own government. i plan to find out and, when i do, i’ll share what i learn. but in the mean time, i’m asking you to take 15 minutes and listen. it will be hard. these are devastating stories. but please–honor these women and girls, and the people trying to help them, enough to know their stories.